Skip to main content

CEO of Rappler, a media company critical of the Philippines government, is arrested

There’s serious concern around press freedom in the Philippines after Maria Ressa, the CEO of independent media company Rappler, was arrested last night.

Ressa, who was CNN’s bureau chief in Manila and then Jakarta prior to starting Rappler in 2011, was arrested on cyber libel security charges for an article published in 2012, according to Rappler. The article in question centers around alleged links between Supreme Court Justice Renato Corona and wealthy businessmen around the time of his impeachment.

Wilfredo Keng, a Chinese-born Filipino named in the article, filed a lawsuit in protest at reports that he lent the justice a vehicle and allegations linking him to illegal activities. The National Bureau of Investigation last year concluded it had grounds to file a criminal complaint around the libel claim. That’s despite the fact that the law used to prosecute Rappler and Ressa was passed months after the story was published.

Rappler reports that Ressa, a Time Person Of The Year, was denied bail and spent the night in prison.

Rappler has made its name for its forward-thinking digital-first reporting but also, in no small way, for reporting criticism of controversial President Rodrigo Duterte. Elected in 2016, Duterte has made international headlines for policies that include a violent war on drugs while his diplomatic controversies have included homophobic slurs against diplomats and calling then U.S. President Barack Obama a “son of a whore.”

Duterte has clashed with Rappler regularly. He has accused it of being funded by the CIA and regularly referred to its reporting as ‘fake news’, while Ressa has regularly spoken out against the President in international circles. In a 2016 Bloomberg interview, she detailed how the Duterte administration had turned Facebook into a “weapon” and utilized “patriotic trolling” to silence critics online.

This is far from the first threat to Rappler’s business. Last year, the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) revoked its registration for an alleged breach of the country’s constitution.

The SEC’s issue centered around the ownership of Rappler. The company has taken investment from Omidyar Network, the philanthropic fund from former eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, and North America-based media fund North Bridge Media, which counts Quora and Disqus among its portfolio.

Philippines law forbids any overseas ownership of media companies, but Rappler claims its investors used a Philippine Depositary Receipt (PDR) to invest. PDRs don’t provide voting equity or board membership, making them a vehicle for media investments in the country. National broadcaster ABS-CBN is among others to have used them.

There’s plenty of cause for concern over media freedom in Southeast Asia. Two Reuters reporters in Myanmar were arrested in December 2017 and later sentenced to seven years in jail for handling state secrets. The duo, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, published an investigation that exposed the execution of 10 Rohingya men by Buddhist villagers and members of the national army.

from TechCrunch


Popular posts from this blog

Android blatantly copies the iPhone X navigation gestures

Google unveiled some of the new features in the next version of Android at its developer conference. One feature looked particularly familiar. Android P will get new navigation gestures to switch between apps. And it works just like the iPhone X.“As part of Android P, we’re introducing a new system navigation that we’ve been working on for more than a year now,” VP of Android Engineering Dave Burke said. “And the new design makes Android multitasking more approachable and easier to understand.”While Google has probably been working on a new multitasking screen for a year, it’s hard to believe that the company didn’t copy Apple. The iPhone X was unveiled in September 2017.On Android P, the traditional home, back and multitasking buttons are gone. There’s a single pill-shaped button at the center of the screen. If you swipe up from this button, you get a new multitasking view with your most recent apps. You can swipe left and right and select the app you’re looking for.If you swipe up o…

Square launches restaurant point-of-sale platform

Square, which has already made its way into retail stores and service-based businesses (think hair salons, massage therapists, etc), is officially getting into the restaurant business with the launch of Square for Restaurants. Square for Restaurants is a point-of-sale system that handles everything from menu updates, floor layouts, employee scheduling, performance tracking to tip splitting.Usually, restaurants have “some old legacy thing or something else,” Square Seller Lead Alyssa Henry told me.“Historically, we’ve not served this customer segment very well,” Henry said. “With Square for Restaurants, we’re excited to finally be able to serve this customer segment and deliver on a couple of key things that are core to Square but also highly valued by sellers of all types.”This new product is designed to be fast, self-serve, elegant and cohesive, Henry said. It also integrates seamlessly into Square’s existing ecosystem that includes Payroll, Capital and more. Given Square’s ownership…

State Farm sponsors popular Fortnite streamer DrLupo

DrLupo, one of the biggest names and most recognizable voices in Fortnite streaming, has closed a sponsorship deal with State Farm.Bejanmin “DrLupo” Lupo has nearly 3 million Twitch followers and often plays with the world’s most popular streamer, Tyler “Ninja” Blevins. Beloved for his talent and his personality alike, Lupo has also worked as a caster for various Fortnite tournaments and events. Last year, DrLupo held a charity stream for St. Jude’s Research Hospital and raised $1.3 million.State Farm Marketing Director Ed Gold had this to say:DrLupo is one of the world’s most followed Fortnite streamers. His philanthropic efforts and massive fanbase make him an ideal partner as we continue to amplify our esports programming and efforts with the gaming community.This marks State Farm’s first sponsorship of an esports athlete. The sponsorship will include support of the stream through branded replays, live in-stream stunts and product integration (here’s me trying to imagine integratin…